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In pictures: Jonk wins Earth Photo competition with stunning series of abandoned buildings

  • Written by  Geographical
  • Published in Geophoto
In pictures: Jonk wins Earth Photo competition with stunning series of abandoned buildings Jonk
14 Dec
The winner of the Earth Photo competition was Jonk with a set of photos depicting abandoned buildings overtaken by nature

Jonk Hotel Portugal

Jonk: Overall winner of Earth Photo plus winner of the 'Place' category

Theatre, Abkhazia region of Georgia (2019)

Jonk is a self-taught freelance photographer whose work focuses on humans and their relationship with nature. His images are taken to raise awareness of the ecological crisis that faces humanity. Fascinated by abandoned places that have been reclaimed by nature, in 2018 he published Naturalia: A Chronicle of Contemporary Ruins. Far from being pessimistic, and at a time when human domination of nature has never been so extreme, his images are designed to awaken our ecological consciousness. Nature is stronger, so whatever happens to humans, nature will always be there, he says.

Jonk Swimming Pool Italy

Swimming Pool, Italy 

Jonk Theater Abkhazia 

Hotel, Portugal


Coffee shop, Abkhazia region of Georgia

Other Earth Photo images:



Jacopo Pasotti: Shortlisted, A climate of change

A Resilient Innovation (2018)

Jacopo Pasotti presents innovative climate-smart agricultural solutions to the problem of decreasing land productivity, telling stories of resilient farmers coping with environmental change. An estimated 40 per cent of agricultural land in Bangladesh will be lost by 2080 due to sea-level rise. Floating vegetable gardens in which crops are grown in soilless platforms constructed from locally available materials have been proposed as one way to deal with the problem. Aquatic plants and straw are woven together to create a platform on which crops are planted. Leafy vegetables, okra, gourds, aubergines, pumpkins and onions thrive on the floating gardens. Each raft lasts for around three months before being hauled ashore, broken down and used to fertilise land-based crops. Farmers are now teaching the method to others in the region.


Sophie Bartlett: Shortlisted, Nature

Flora Sample (2019)

Sophie Bartlett is an emerging environmental artist who focuses primarily on the impact of pollution, especially that which is a product of mass tourism. She is currently on an artistic residency in Cusco, Peru. Flora Sample is from a series of photographs that explore the most resilient aspects of nature. Here, lamp light allows flowers to grow far from sunlight, 150 feet underground in a developed cave system.


Roberto Bueno: Shortlisted, Place

Life, A Thin Line 2 (2019)

Roberto Bueno’s love of nature began at a young age and was shaped by regular forays into Las Sierras de Béjar y Francia biosphere reserve near his home in Salamanca province in western Spain. His images reflect nature’s constant destruction at humanity’s hands and he hopes that they will help others to become aware of that degradation. In Life, A Thin Line 2, a raised road divides green, fresh water from a reservoir of toxic ochre-coloured mining waste water.


Yanrong Guo: Winner for the 'People' category

Untitled (2019)

This image was taken in the Daliang Mountains, in the south of China’s Sichuan province. Rising above the left bank of the Jinsha (Upper Yangtze) River, the range’s name means ‘Great Cool Mountains’. The surrounding region is famed for its visually stunning lakes and mountains. It’s also home to the largest population of the Austroasiatic Yi or Nuosuo people, the seventh largest of the 55 ethnic minority groups officially recognised by the People’s Republic of China. Close to nine million Yi are found across China, Vietnam and Thailand, often in mountainous regions. 


Li Ming: Shortlisted, People

Gathering Stones in the Sand (2020)

Li Ming’s photographic subjects range from landscapes and people to wildlife and environmental change. He began to experiment with aerial photography in April 2018 and has since won numerous national and international awards, including twice winning the Top Ten Chinese Photographers in the World competition, in 2018 and 2019. In this image, taken during the drought season in northern Bangladesh, people excavate the bank of a river in order to collect rocks for use in construction. 


Javier Clemente Martinez: Shortlisted, People

Potosí Mines (Since 1545) (2020)

The mines of Potosí, in present-day Bolivia, have been producing silver since the 16th century. Dug into 4,800-metre-high Cerro Rico de Potosí, they were first worked by indigenous and African slaves, and the silver they produced contributed to the wealth of the Spanish Empire and the rest of Europe during the colonisation of the Americas. The city of Potosí still lives in the shadow of Cerro Rico (‘Rich Mountain’) and the exploitation of the many miles of mine shafts continues to form the basis of the local economy. Two centuries after declaring independence from Spain, Bolivia has failed to put in place measures to protect the almost 15,000 workers, including children, who continue to work in the mines. Although women have long worked alongside men, they are considered to bring bad luck, leading to differences in remuneration and a lack of knowledge about mining work. As a result, many have chosen to leave the shafts and engage instead in open-pit mining. 

 EM 1127 HiRes 1

Evgeny Makarov: Shortlisted: A climate of change

BR-319: Highway to the Tipping Point (2019)

Evgeny Makarov is a documentary photographer based in Brazil. Together with journalist Fabian Federl they drove for 10 days on highway BR-319, the only road connecting Manaus, the capital of the Amazon Basin, with the rest of Brazil. Built by the military in the 60s to ‘colonise’ the Amazon, it quickly degraded until the forest took back its land. By the late 80s BR-319 was impassable, but at the end of July 2019, during a short window of reasonable conditions, Makarov and Federl travelled along it from from Manaus to Realidade to tell the story of the inhabitants living along the route. This image shows Erika Casto de Santos (15), on the lookout for the pink Amazon river dolphins, which sometimes swim to the dock and are fed with fish. The rainbow shimmer on the water is caused by a boat that is leaking oil or gasoline nearby.


Dong Min: Shortlisted, People

Back from Fishing (2020)

A fisherman carries his net across a mudflat in Xiapu in the north-eastern part of China’s Fujian province. The oldest county in eastern Fujian, Xiapu’s long coastline, shallow sea, sandy beaches
and beautiful mudflats are increasingly popular with nature photographers.


Işık Kaya: Shortlisted, Changing forests

Second Nature (2020)

Işik Kaya focuses on human impacts on the landscape. By framing subjects exclusively at night, she tries to uncover the uncanny atmospheres and qualities caused by urbanisation. This image, from the series Second Nature, was taken in southern California, where camouflaged communication and surveillance infrastructure has started to fill the city. The first antenna was transformed into an artificial pine tree in 1992 by a company called Larson Camouflage, which has also worked with Disney.

Earth Photo is a competition and exhibition developed jointly by Forestry England and the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG). The Earth Photo 2020 exhibition is now open online. Visit www.rgs.org/geography/earth-photo-2020/ to see all of the selected images and videos.

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